It’s not a good deal if you don’t need it.
I mentally made all kinds of plans this past weekend. Bank, 7-11 (gotta keep buying those lottery tickets), bagel place (always like having a dozen in the freezer), Starbucks, nail salon, post office, dry cleaners, 99 cent store, grocery shopping, Trader Joe’s, bakery. As it turned out, I did the first five things on the list and ignored the last six destinations.
And now it’s Monday. Some of the last six items on the list couldn’t be done on Sunday because they’re closed. So now I have to make up all those items on my list and do them after work.
When I postpone errands, I’m only spiting myself. I don’t like to go after work, but if I don’t do the grocery shopping tonight, we’ll be eating weeks-old salsa and stale tortilla chips for dinner. So I’ve got my coupons ready and I’m hitting Ralphs tonight for the necessities and some impulse buys. For me, I’ll usually wait to try something new if it’s on sale, or if I have a coupon. I will refrain from buying something that I might want, but definitely don’t need, if it’s full price.
What do you buy, no matter what? Organic Lunchables? Tapatio-flavored popcorn? Marketers and retailers tend to exploit these impulses which are tied to the basic want for instant gratification. You may not be looking for sweets, but candy, gum, mints and chocolate are prominently displayed at the checkout aisles to trigger impulse buyers – and / or their children – to buy what they might not have otherwise considered.
Impulse buying can also extend to more expensive items such as automobiles and home appliances. Automobiles in particular are as much an emotional purchase as a rational one. This in turn leads auto dealers all over the world to market their products in a rapid-fire, almost carnival-like manner designed to appeal to emotion over reason. Impulse buying disrupts the normal decision making models in consumers’ brains. The logical sequence of the consumers’ actions is replaced with an irrational moment of self gratification. Impulse items appeal to the emotional side of consumers. Preventing impulse buying involves techniques such as setting budgets before shopping and taking time out before the purchase is made.
I’m happy to say that my car was not an impulse buy, but I may pick up that box of cereal that’s not on sale and for which I don’t have a coupon. Leslie would be so happy.